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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vol. IVoyaging Accounts
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Discovery of Queen Charlotte's Island


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CHAP. IV. An Account of the Discovery of Queen Charlotte's Island, with a Description of them and their Inhabitants, and of what happened at Egmont Island.

THE scurvy still continued to make great progress among us, and those hands that were not rendered useless by disease, were worn down by excessive labour; our vessel, which at best was a dull sailer, had been long in so bad a condition that she would not work; and on the 10th, to render our condition still more distressful and alarming, she sprung a leak in the bows, which being under water it was impossible to get at while we were at sea. Such was our situation, when on the 12th, at break of day, we discovered land: the sudden transport of hope and joy which this inspired can perhaps be equalled only by that which a criminal feels who hears the cry of a reprieve at the place of execution. The land proved to be a cluster of islands, of which I counted seven, and believe there were many more. We kept on for two of them, which were right ahead when land was first discovered, and seemed to lie close together; in the evening we anchored on the north east side of one of them, which was the largest and the highest of the two, in about thirty fathom, with a good bottom, and at the distance of about three cables' length from the shore. We soon after saw too of the natives, who were black, with woolly heads, and stark naked; I immediately sent the Master out with the boat to fix upon a watering-place, and speak to them, but they disappeared before she could reach the shore. The boat soon after returned with an account that there was a fine run of fresh water abreast of the ship and close to the beach, but that the whole country in that part being an almost impenetrable forest quite to the waters edge, the watering would be very difficult, and even dangerous, if the natives should come down to prevent it: that there were no esculent vegetables, for the refreshment of the sick, nor any habitations as far as the country had been examined, which was wild, forlorn, and mountainous.

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© Derived from Volume I of the London 1773 Edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, page 568, 2004
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